Sure. A degree from Harvard serves two purposes: a confirmation in black and white that you have a high IQ and an opportunity to meet a successful mate. It has very little to do with the education one will receive.
Ouch! I’ll bet the people at the University of Buffalo will take umbrage at that remark! I’m not advocating mixing genes as you say but how are you going to stop your kids from making what they believe to be THEIR choice for a mate, or anyone elses kids for that matter. Would you stop the marriage because the person came from the “wrong side of the tracks”? Because as you say, parenting has nothing to do with it; their choice will be determined by genetics. Will their genes guide them in the direction of a mate? What if their peer group not only allowed this person into the group but encouraged it? I don’t think that we can rule out emotional attachments and hormones in this case. And they’re many people with high IQs who couldn’t get into Harvard because they couldn’t afford the tuition. So they had to opt for a Oh no, state university like Paul Burk, grad of Ohio State U. and former provost of Harvard ( I guess he got in anyway!), or Larry Sanger, co-founder of WIKI, or George Aiken of my alma Mater UK, scientist who worked ion the Manhattan Project, CFI’s Joe Nickell from a small Appalachian town in Ky., or William Lipscomb who won the Nobel Prize in chemistry. I think that much of it is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration to quote a guy who never even went to college!
At the risk of firing up the Nature/Nurture debate; I agree that more humble colleges can attract, and support great “minds”, but those minds will probably have decent success anywhere - smart, motivated people are already that way before college. If you have the money and connections, the university you attend is simply a matter of prestige and “wheel greasing”. Mixing good genes with bad is probably something that all self aware people try not to do. If Eddie the farm boy attends a state school, he might not mix with the Mary Jane Rottencrotches simply because he is prone genetically to buckle down and word hard - and ignore frivolous distractions like mary jane and her ilk. Everybody may hate him, but he is too mature (and by extension smart), to care. Some brat who attends Yale (like Bush), is an idiot and asshat, but he goes there because of his background allows him, and the school is worshipped by society for educating important people. I think nature and nurture both matter, but nature matters in a more severe way.
Ok George I can live with that, and I do believe that parents can still make a difference. I guess that will be the delusion I can live with. :)
Of course parents or other primary caregivers make a difference in a child’s development, especially early on. However they are just one component in the overall environmental contingencies that has an impact on development. So if you define “nurture” as just the care provided by parents, then it is a mistake to overestimate the influence of “nurture”.
If, however, you define “nurture” as all of the environmental contingencies that help shape a child’s development, then “nurture” has an unquestionably broad and critical effect in development.
Social science studies always seem to be a bit wanting. Its difficult to control all the confounding variables and there are so many biases that intrude in to the interpretations. I find it very hard to believe that a child’s home life doesn’t have a lot to do with how they fair i this world.
Kids spend their first five years or so with family as their primary influence. A lot can happen during that time. A child who is raised to believe they can do anything and who is allowed to experiment, take risks, make mistakes, and learn will go in to the world with a level of confidence that another child won’t have if they are constantly torn down and not given opportunities to fail and learn from their failures in a way that doesn’t erode their self image.
I’m not the most objective observer here because all of my kids have turned out well but I think parents matter a lot more than most other factors including freinds. I’ve often observed that the kids who were big drinkers and substance abusers in our town frequently had parents who either made light of drinking or thought it was cool or were very uninvolved. Obviously there;s a lot more to it than that and great parents can sometimes have a child who choses the wrong path but if you put the wheels on a wagon the right way to begin with and keep nudging it back in line when it drifts too far of course it may still end up in a ditch now and then but its much less likely to run off the road then it would be if you don’t do those things.
What we are forgetting here is that until very recently kids after being weaned around their third year spent most of their childhood with other children. It would make sense that kids have evolved to learn from and imitate other children instead of their parents. And there are probably two reasons for that: 1.) To learn about the dangers of their environment (remember they spent most of their time with their older siblings, cousins and friends) and 2.) It would be their peers with whom they would one day form their new society and where they would cooperate and compete with each other for mates and resources.
Why would my kids want to learn how to speak English with my accent or how to dance to Abba’s Dancing Queen?
I’ve often observed that the kids who were big drinkers and substance abusers in our town frequently had parents who either made light of drinking or thought it was cool or were very uninvolved. Obviously there;s a lot more to it than that and great parents can sometimes have a child who choses the wrong path but if you put the wheels on a wagon the right way to begin with and keep nudging it back in line when it drifts too far of course it may still end up in a ditch now and then but its much less likely to run off the road then it would be if you don’t do those things.
macgyver, do you believe that alcoholism is genetic? It sure seems to run in my family.
There are several studies that show a link to complusion ex. alcoholism. I was involved in the AA program (ALANON for parents) and we were given the current studies at the time. The conclusion was that , yes it runs in families even though it may skip a generation or effect one sibling and not another. Either way it’s an uphill fight lasting a lifetime because the compulsion never goes away. My best friend is an alcoholic and has fought it his entire adult life.
“Alcohol dependence is a complex disorder that combines alcohol abuse – continued drinking despite negative consequences – with physical symptoms of tolerance, withdrawal and uncontrollable craving for alcohol. The heritability of alcohol dependence is estimated to be between 38% and 64%. This means genetic and environmental factors contribute varying amounts to risk for this condition, probably depending on the population in question. Environmental factors that may increase risk include a family history of alcohol or drug abuse, having peers who exhibit common alcohol abuse, being male, cultural background, psychiatric disorders such as anxiety or depression and drinking at an early age. Genes that may play a role in alcohol dependence include those that affect brain chemistry and the liver’s ability to process alcohol.”
Apart from the body chemistry, I believe that all children strive to experiment, build, or create something to satisfy an emotional need for satisfaction. IMO the environment in which this experimentation occurs is critical for the direction in which this striving for “satisfaction’ takes.
I remember my father’s library with books of wonderous inventions. I spend hours looking at the pictures and fantasizing being an explorer, ships captain, train engineer, astronaut, botanist. Sailing on my dad’s sailboat forever instilled a desire to travel the oceans. When I was ten I built my own sailboat from plywood, with bedsheets as sails.
Fortunately my parents recognized my curiosity and the first major playsets I can remember was a Meccano set, a microscope, and a crystal radio kit. I spent hours and days building things, peering into the microworld, and assembling, tuning and listening to the magical sounds from a small crystal. The satisfaction and pride gained from my parents approval, IMO, shaped my entire future desires and abilities to figure things out with confidence.
OTOH, my friend, who lived with parents who were alcoholic, experimented with alcohol at a very early age and of course found his satisfaction in the chemical effects of alcohol. When I showed him my little treasures, he was not in the least interested and eventually we drifted apart, he became a troubled child.
Thus IMO, early environment, and encouragement is the key to increasing one’s ability to function successfully in later life. While circumstances prevented me from pursuing a formal higher education, I believe this early opening of a mindset that “i can do this” has helped me throughout life.
The key in education is not just books and learning by rote, but assigning projects which require analysis, patience, and the creation of a result. Encouragement and approval in those endeavors are critical in building confidence.